Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Avoid Seller Pitfalls

While speaking to a homeowner the other day, I realized that she was stuck in 2006 pricing. She believed that her house was worth a certain amount because of what she bought it for and the work she had put into it. Even though she had seen values around her declining for some time she felt because there was little inventory that she could yield a price of what is was worth in 2006 when she bought it.  During our conversation, I could tell that it was going to be hard for her to accept the reality of today’s market.

It's hard for homeowners to divorce themselves emotionally from a home that they have spent so much time in and have created wonderful memories. But sellers must put their emotional feelings aside so they can make rational decisions about the list price of their home. 
This decision should be based on listings that have sold in your area that could be considered a comparable to your home. It’s called market value and you may not like the result but it is how price is determined by Realtors and then confirmed by appraisers. 

I often suggest that sellers go to open houses to evaluate the competition. This will typically give them an idea of what is happening and what they are up against. But, if the seller  is emotionally wrapped up in their home, the exercise can be futile. The seller will often return home feeling that the other homes aren't as good as their home because they can only see it one way and it's through an emotional lens.  It is crucial to detach from your home in order to sell it.

Put yourself in the buyer's shoes.Your house needs to be listed at a price that is enticing to buyers because it represents a good value. If the seller comes out the gate with a high list price then it’s obvious to a buyer that they are not reasonable. Your house will end up sitting and become stagnant on the market. The first two weeks of putting a house on the market are the most crucial. It's when the most activity happens and when you could garner competition if possible.

Sellers, be wary of real estate agents who tell you that your home will sell for a higher-than-supported price just to get the listing. Then they work on you over time until you reduce the price to market value. It’s a strategy that some agents practice just so they can get the listing. It will cost you more money  then if you were to just list it at market value in the first place.

By Gina Odom, Realtor

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